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Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Rynjin wrote:
DrDeth wrote:


Harry Dresden killed ALL the vampires in the world with one spell.

Nitpick, that was ritual magic/artifact shenanigans, not simply a spellcaster casting a spell.

Moreover, it wasn't even Harry's spell, it was a ritual he hijacked from a cabal of extremely old and powerful vampires.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Matthew Downie wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
The point I'm making is this: by it's very nature, the heavily exception based classes (i.e. the casters, who choose when to obey the game's model of physics, realistic or not) are ALWAYS going to be better than the less exception based classes (i.e. the martials or the skill monkeys, who have far less choice in the matter). Doesn't matter what the base model is.

I disagree with this. There's no inherent reason casters need to be 'better'.

Let's suppose we're making a new system, and we want to rebalance the Cleric and the Fighter. Now, what are the Fighter's advantages? The Cleric has devoted his life to prayer and so forth, so obviously the Fighter (who has devoted himself to the physical) should have more skill points, better initiative, better saving throws, be faster at moving around the map and so forth. And why should the Cleric be able to cast powerful spells in a single round? Why not have all spells take a couple of rounds to work? And why give them powerful spells at level 3 that could be moved up to level 9? And why should a Cleric get more spells per day at higher level? Isn't it enough that the spells get more powerful?
It would not be hard to make a system where Fighter is obviously the better option, if that was your idea of a good time.

Just to be clear, you screwed up your quote. I did not say what you quoted me as saying and in fact absolutely do not agree with it.


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DominusMegadeus wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Did you just see the word "divine" and do a flip? I see nothing in there that would make a Fighter play like a Cleric.
Mostly the natural 20 for praying that casters for some reason cannot get.

My pantheon is a lot like my heroes...pretty Greek. They're jealous creatures who are willing to intervene on behalf of their favorites (the specific feat you're talking about is definitely deus ex machina), but view full casters as threats to their power. There are no clerics in my game (only Oracles), mainly because the D&D Cleric is a class that doesn't actually exist in any myth or legend I've ever heard of.


the secret fire wrote:
Larkspire wrote:

So GM fiat? Built in. Giving them more magic equipment seems to be the fix that's already being used.

I'd rather have a fighter gain the Vorpal ability,than be automatically given a Vorpal sword at such-and-such lvl.

Built-in fiat is definitely what it is, but there's nothing wrong with that. I prefer handing out artifacts to just giving fighters super-exotic combat abilities because:

1) There is strong precedent for it in western mythology. This one should be obvious.

2) There are fewer constraints on what powers can be given without getting into "wuxia...airbender...blah, blah" territory. If I want to give Joe the Fighter the ability to fly, I can hook him up with some shoes with little wings on the sides. If I just straight up hand a fighter this ability not tied to an item, he's not really a fighter, anymore.

You do make some good points.I really like the scaling luck bonus framework you've devised.I feel like it's dificult to properly imagine high level martial performing without it going to Wuxia/Anime levels...

I allow martial to make called shots,dismembering and killing strikes.
Going toe to toe with greater demons and dragons and wot-not seems a little above "joe the fighters" pay grade,flying shoes and magic sword or not.
It reminds me of that "calibrating your expectations" article in the alexandrian...high level martials are LITERALLY superhuman.
But that is well gnawed bone of contention.
I would prefer they become increasingly superhuman as they level, for others this breaks their immersion.
Also,if fighters get artifact weapons as a class feature...then are other classes limited in their ability to acquire them so as not to re-step on Joe's toes...it is HIS class feature after all.
Not poking holes,just curious how you arbitrate it.


I've always felt that the caster martial divide was a lie really. If the universe in which you live is steeped in magic such that its very fabric can be manipulated, then there is no "mundane". Your Joe fighter character may have never learned the high art of hermetic magic, but his body exists within the universe of magic and is thus magic itself. Completely separating the mundane from the magical in such a universe breaks all immersion for me.


Larkspire wrote:
You do make some good points.I really like the scaling luck bonus framework you've devised.I feel like it's dificult to properly imagine high level martial performing without it going to Wuxia/Anime levels...

Thanks. Yeah, the scaling luck feats thing seems to work pretty well. Re-rolls are a very powerful effect, but are not so explicitly magical that they break the "reality" glass ceiling for the martial classes.

Quote:

I would prefer they become increasingly superhuman as they level, for others this breaks their immersion.

Also, if fighters get artifact weapons as a class feature...then are other classes limited in their ability to acquire them so as not to re-step on Joe's toes...it is HIS class feature after all. Not poking holes,just curious how you arbitrate it.

I also think martials ought to become more superhuman as they progress, but I try very hard to keep that progression within the bounds of mythology and fantasy, as I know it. I'm not a fan of the genres in which ostensibly "martial" characters are flying all over the place under their own power, so I try to avoid that stuff. YMMV.

Artifacts for martials as a class feature (I should mention that Rogues and all "mundanes" get them in my system, as well) doesn't get in the way of other classes having such items any more than the Magus or Paladin abilities get in the way of other characters having lesser magic weapons. I make it clear that the artifacts received as a class feature in this system are divinely-forged specifically for their wielder, not just random bits of swag that suddenly appear on the fighter's person on level-up.

I balance the need for other classes to also have access to artifacts by introducing them at the point that other classes are starting to get this sort of gear (which for me is about 16th level), and just making the divinely-forged stuff that powerful, strong enough to overshadow "normal" artifacts. These items end up being pretty epic, and become an important part of the characters' identity...which is exactly what I'm going for, as myth and legend is full of that sort of stuff (Achilles' armor, Excalibur, the Shield of Perseus, etc.). Just to give you an example, the last divine artifact I handed out:

Quote:

Zephyr's Mail (gifted to a 16th level Rogue by the North Wind):

Chainmail +7, Ghost Touch; Max Dex: unknown; Check Pen: 0; Weight: 1 lb.; counts as light armor

Powers:
- adds to touch AC
- Fly: 70' (excellent) - at will
- Gaseous Form - at will [swift action to activate/deactivate]
- Immunity to Electricity damage
- Windy Escape (per the Sylph spell) - always on [grants immunity to sneak attacks, critical hits and poison]
- Freedom of Movement
- Sending - at will

Gaudy, I know, but keep in mind that it's essentially meant to be a "double artifact". It still doesn't make our Rogue equal to the full caster, who by that point is flinging 8th level spells around (and probably has some lesser artifact, himself), but it does make him much more relevant in combat (the at-will fly and gaseous form combo is great for getting into position if you leave the gaseous effect on while exploring), and gives him some nice out-of-combat narrative power (at will Sending is pretty sweet).

I generally try to do three things with these items:

1) hand out at least one interesting non-combat ability.

2) make them mostly feature at will abilities. These feel less like spellcasting to me, and I want to emphasize the difference between martials and spellcasters as much as possible.

3) make the powers follow some coherent theme related to the deity in question (which I think the above does).


That's pretty awesome.The house rules set up I use makes it feel like a brutal manga film...similar to .."Ninja Scroll".
The way you do it does remind me of legendary stories.


Trogdar wrote:
I've always felt that the caster martial divide was a lie really. If the universe in which you live is steeped in magic such that its very fabric can be manipulated, then there is no "mundane". Your Joe fighter character may have never learned the high art of hermetic magic, but his body exists within the universe of magic and is thus magic itself. Completely separating the mundane from the magical in such a universe breaks all immersion for me.

Well, yeah. Same here. But that doesn't make the caster vs. martial disparity a lie. I mean, even if you make everything magical, mechanically casters are still much more powerful than martials.


I would like to point out that Sorcerors, Oracles, Magi, and various other classes are already anime level and that's one of the problems.


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Yeah totally, I just meant that it was a lie in the sense that the design position or starting point of the "mundane" warrior was kind of a flawed premise.


swoosh wrote:
Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
Pathfinder jumped the shark for me with the release of Mythic Adventures and the Advanced Class Guide. I can no longer take sifting each book for options that shouldn't even be in the game. The scaling has been bad practically since the beginning, it keeps getting worse and worse with each new book. Come and Get Me, Greater Blood Elemental, Slayer, Swashbuckler, Arcanist, and new spells and feats superior to old spells and feats combined with no support to make encounters strong enough to deal with all the player options. Stale monsters built using the old method, while damage and saves keep on rising for the PCs making monsters into cottony speed bumps easily beaten. I can't take it any more.

The odd thing here is that none of the things you listed are better than a core-only wizard.

Depends on how much time the wizard has to set up. Wizards can be dealt with quite easily with dispel magic, high SR, spell immunity, and immunity to magic in general. Their damage can be mitigated with resistance. Even their best defensive spells can be challenged with various monster abilities and magical means.

I can't dispel 600 hit points. I can't dispel barbarian rage with a less than 8th level spell with no save. I can't dispel Come and Get Me. I can't dispel the insane damage numbers from critical hits.

I don't have the trouble with wizards others do. I can find plenty of means to deal with them using the rules even if it is just high saving throws. I can't find plenty of ways each encounter to deal with the high melee damage numbers and stupid no save abilities like they just handed out to the Swashbuckler.

My group works together. If the Swashbuckler has to stab once a round to stagger an opponent giving them one action with no save and the barbarian gets to tee off, they will do it. I wonder why Paizo developers don't say to themselves "If the Swashbuckler can stab and stagger a creature with no save, what chance does it have?" The answer is none. Yet they still put that ability in the game. Why would they do that? Why would they do something so blatantly problematic in large encounters such as against dragons and the like? What would possess them to put in an ability that a group can exploit to make encounters a joke that has no reasonable defense within a group dynamic? They handed this ability out at level 7. Yes, level 7.

It's unreal to me how much the train has gone off the tracks.


Insain Dragoon wrote:
I would like to point out that Sorcerors, Oracles, Magi, and various other classes are already anime level and that's one of the problems.

Magic has rules built in for slowing it down. It's very easy to increase SR or make a creature magic immune or immune to specific types of damage and effects. Though I do agree certain spells need to be removed, toned down, or given saves.

Martial capabilities don't have things to stop them other than avoid them. DR 5 or 15/whatever is nothing to a high level martial. They cut through that like a hot knife through butter. They made so many ways to bypass DR that it might as well not even be in the game.

At the current time against a DM that knows how to challenge casters, the best use of a casters capabilities is to help a martial hit what the bad guy. One round of hits will kill most casters and does more damage than a caster could hope to do.


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Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

Depends on how much time the wizard has to set up. Wizards can be dealt with quite easily with dispel magic, high SR, spell immunity, and immunity to magic in general. Their damage can be mitigated with resistance. Even their best defensive spells can be challenged with various monster abilities and magical means.

Dispel Magic only dispels ongoing spells, so it's not really a counter. Ignoring that countering magic with more magic doesn't really fix the problem. Ditto Spell Immunity, with the added bonus that it only works on specific spells.

High SR and immunity to magic mean diddly when faced with the plethora of good SR: No spells.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:


I can't dispel 600 hit points.

The massive number of Save or Dies and Save or You May As Well Be Dead spells beg to differ.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:


I can't dispel barbarian rage with a less than 8th level spell with no save.

You're equating a +2-+4 to-hit damage with 9th level spellcasting?

That doesn't even stack up to some 4th level spells.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:


I can't dispel Come and Get Me.

If you're using "dispel" in the sense of "negate", yes you can.

Ranged attacks and attacks at Reach make CaGM meaningless. You just gave the enemy a free +4 hit/damage against you for no reason.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
I can't dispel the insane damage numbers from critical hits.

Fortification, Elementals and Incorporeal creatures, Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier, forced re-rolls, and many other things say hi.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
I don't have the trouble with wizards others do. I can find plenty of means to deal with them using the rules even if it is just high saving throws. I can't find plenty of ways each encounter to deal with the high melee damage numbers and stupid no save abilities like they just handed out to the Swashbuckler.

Then you're not trying.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

My group works together. If the Swashbuckler has to stab once a round to stagger an opponent giving them one action with no save and the barbarian gets to tee off, they will do it. I wonder why Paizo developers don't say to themselves "If the Swashbuckler can stab and stagger a creature with no save, what chance does it have?" The answer is none. Yet they still put that ability in the game. Why would they do that? Why would they do something so blatantly problematic in large encounters such as against dragons and the like? What would possess them to put in an ability that a group can exploit to make encounters a joke that has no reasonable defense within a group dynamic? They handed this ability out at level 7. Yes, level 7.

It's unreal to me how much the train has gone off the tracks.

lel


Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
I would like to point out that Sorcerors, Oracles, Magi, and various other classes are already anime level and that's one of the problems.

Magic has rules built in for slowing it down. It's very easy to increase SR or make a creature magic immune or immune to specific types of damage and effects. Though I do agree certain spells need to be removed, toned down, or given saves.

Martial capabilities don't have things to stop them other than avoid them. DR 5 or 15/whatever is nothing to a high level martial. They cut through that like a hot knife through butter. They made so many ways to bypass DR that it might as well not even be in the game.

At the current time against a DM that knows how to challenge casters, the best use of a casters capabilities is to help a martial hit what the bad guy. One round of hits will kill most casters and does more damage than a caster could hope to do.

Hi,

For me, you summarize perfectly the game I like to play / GM, If Casters are too powerful is the GM responsability to tone his play, to have a balanced opponent that give each player the pleasure to defeat it...
It is also the GM responsability to permit more things to famously weaker class like the rogue and limit things to power-hungry casters..


Ssalarn wrote:
Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
Pathfinder jumped the shark for me with the release of Mythic Adventures and the Advanced Class Guide.

To be fair, Mythic Adventures was never really intended to be a part of every core game like the Ultimate books were. It was specifically meant for the kind of game where the characters are playing Beowulf, Hercules, Achilles, etc. where they're pretty much demigods even at low levels. They were kind of supposed to be crazy OP.

Advanced Class Guide is actually pretty solid. There's few things that are really OP (I think the Pummeling tree toes that line because of somewhat ambiguous wording; the feat for divine casters to add their CHA to saves is more annoying than OP), and lots of really solid material. The ACG's problem isn't overpowered options (there's more underpowered materials than anything), it's horrific editing and somewhat questionable development in the archetypes. From a balance perspective, it's actually a better balanced block of material than the CRB, with only two full casters, one of whom has a fairly limited spell list and the other with fewer spells per day at most levels than any of his peers combined with multiple class features that all want to feed on one limited resource pool.

That's 90% of Paizo books as far as weak options. They always release a few over-powered options that optimizes flock to that they either take ages to fix or never get fixed. The vast majority of feats in the Core Rulebook never get used.

I've never seen anyone make anything other than an Invulnerable Rager barbarian since that option was released. The only reason people don't use Beast Totem is when they're trying something else for fun. Come and Get me is the on brainer level 12 ability.

Swashbuckler, Arcanist, and Slayer are all ripe for abuse. Shaman is a better healer/caster with witch hex options. The entire book makes past classes inferior. Do you realize the following?

1. Swashbuckler has the equivalent of no crit smite with no real limits on use. A no save ability to stagger opponents, confuse them, and make them drop their weapon? Unlimited Improved Critical with an 18-20 crit weapon at level 5 with Inspired Blade archetype?

2. Do you realize the Arcanist can boost save DCs beyond any other class with a low cost arcane point? They have a variable metamagic feat they can change out daily at higher level, when metamagic becomes more prevalent. Their uses per day are nearly limitless with their ability to drain magic items disposable magic items?

3. The slayer is a +20 BAB class with the equivalent of half-favored enemy useable against anyone with sneak attack and rogue talents?

These classes are superior in every way to classes their hybrid options. I already have one slayer building an archer whose intent is to obtain Greater Sniper Goggles, so she can kill things from range with assassinate and full sneak attack from surprise. She's going to be able to do this easily and often.

ACG is another book upping the power to a level that makes DMs give up.


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Pathfinder designers need to spend some time on monster design. It hasn't kept up with player capabilities. If Pathfinder is going to continue, they need to sit down and come up with some books to help GMs run the game, specifically better monster design rules that take into account spike damage from critical hits, spell tactics, and other things monsters should be able to survive to have reached the level of power they have.

Book after book of player options to make them more powerful, yet no books to make monsters better at challenging PCs. Just more Bestiaries of weak monsters, easily killed by optimized PCs. Monster design needs to improve dramatically. I wish Paizo developers would take some time to commit to improving enemies the PCs fight on and how we rate challenges.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
My group works together. If the Swashbuckler has to stab once a round to stagger an opponent giving them one action with no save and the barbarian gets to tee off, they will do it. I wonder why Paizo developers don't say to themselves "If the Swashbuckler can stab and stagger a creature with no save, what chance does it have?" The answer is none. Yet they still put that ability in the game. Why would they do that? Why would they do something so blatantly problematic in large encounters such as against dragons and the like? What would possess them to put in an ability that a group can exploit to make encounters a joke that has no reasonable defense within a group dynamic? They handed this ability out at level 7. Yes, level 7.

I just have to point out this specific bit. As a full-round action a swashbuckler gets to make a single attack and if it hits it also inflicts that condition. If the monster uses its single action to move away it negates this entire ability. If you miss it does nothing. This really isn't much different from using Dirty Trick to blind, you force them to spend an action countering your action. Both have a to-hit roll, both screw people not built to fight them. All this example demonstrates is how dumb single monster fights are.


Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

Do you realize the following?

1. Swashbuckler has the equivalent of no crit smite with no real limits on use.

Except for the limitation of using a far inferior fighting style with no real support, without even the upside of using a shield with it. Oh, and half the bestiary has some way to become immune to it.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
A no save ability to stagger opponents, confuse them, and make them drop their weapon?

Which takes a full round action and still requires an attack roll. That last one is especially hilarious since you could be getting two attempts with a Disarm check instead.

Oh and the icing on the cake is, all those things he can't crit, he can't do this on either.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
Unlimited Improved Critical with an 18-20 crit weapon at level 5 with Inspired Blade archetype?

Oh my god! He gets a Bonus Feat! HOLY S&@~ OMGWTFBBQ SO BROKENSSSS

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
2. Do you realize the Arcanist can boost save DCs beyond any other class with a low cost arcane point? They have a variable metamagic feat they can change out daily at higher level, when metamagic becomes more prevalent. Their uses per day are nearly limitless with their ability to drain magic items disposable magic items?

Arcanist is dumb, moving on.

Though the Wizard archetype that gets the "Anything you can do, I can do better!" quickdraw on the Arcanist is dumber.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
3. The slayer is a +20 BAB class with the equivalent of half-favored enemy useable against anyone with sneak attack and rogue talents?

Which is just as good as the Ranger, and inferior to the Barbarian or Paladin.

I.E. Balanced.

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
These classes are superior in every way to classes their hybrid options. I already have one slayer building an archer whose intent is to obtain Greater Sniper Goggles, so she can kill things from range with assassinate and full sneak attack from surprise. She's going to be able to do this easily and often.

So?


Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

Pathfinder designers need to spend some time on monster design. It hasn't kept up with player capabilities. If Pathfinder is going to continue, they need to sit down and come up with some books to help GMs run the game, specifically better monster design rules that take into account spike damage from critical hits, spell tactics, and other things monsters should be able to survive to have reached the level of power they have.

Book after book of player options to make them more powerful, yet no books to make monsters better at challenging PCs. Just more Bestiaries of weak monsters, easily killed by optimized PCs. Monster design needs to improve dramatically. I wish Paizo developers would take some time to commit to improving enemies the PCs fight on and how we rate challenges.

Not all groups are equal. The game assumes average players with 15 point buy. Once you get optimizers, 20 point buy or higher, non standard parties, and so on then it is on the GM to adjust.

I am running for two groups right now. One of them which Rynjin is in, is much more optimized than the other group. Overall they are just better players. The other group can be challenged with stock monsters, and it seems like they it will be that way even at higher levels.

I have found that changing some of the crappy feats out, and/or adding the advanced template can make normal monster much more challenging.


The swashbuckler is not a great class by any means, and assassinate uses a tertiary stat so even stock monsters should be making the save.
You just like to play a certain way, but so far your games are not matching other games I have seen. If your casters really want to push save DC's it can be difficult to stop the monsters from failing on many occasions. Even if you do that, they can make life bad for the bad guys without forcing a save.

As for stopping martials don't stand still and fight them toe to toe. Use difficult terrain. Etc Etc


wraithstrike wrote:
Not all groups are equal. The game assumes average players with 15 point buy. Once you get optimizers, 20 point buy or higher, non standard parties, and so on then it is on the GM to adjust.

Random comment.

If true, Paizo assuming a 15 point buy in monster design is dumb for a couple of reasons. The first being that the average results from 4d6 drop lowest are higher than a 15 point buy, so monsters aren't even designed to handle the traditional char. gen method. Though, to be fair, a 15 point buy allows more min maxing than dice-rolling Char. Gen does.

The other being that, if 15 point buy is supposed to be the "low power" option for character generation, monsters shouldn't be designed around it. To use a very crude visual:

High Power
"Standard" Power <----- Monsters should be designed around this paradigm.
Low Power


Squirrel_Dude wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Not all groups are equal. The game assumes average players with 15 point buy. Once you get optimizers, 20 point buy or higher, non standard parties, and so on then it is on the GM to adjust.

Random comment.

If true, Paizo assuming a 15 point buy in monster design is dumb for a couple of reasons. The first being that the average results from 4d6 drop lowest are higher than a 15 point buy, so monsters aren't even designed to handle the traditional char. gen method. Though, to be fair, a 15 point buy allows more min maxing than dice-rolling Char. Gen does.

The other being that, if 15 point buy is supposed to be the "low power" option for character generation, monsters shouldn't be designed around it. To use a very crude visual:

High Power
"Standard" Power <----- Monsters should be designed around this paradigm.
Low Power

From the PRD

Quote:


Low Fantasy 10
Standard Fantasy 15
High Fantasy 20
Epic Fantasy 25

15 is the standard. Low fantasy is 10.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Not all groups are equal. The game assumes average players with 15 point buy. Once you get optimizers, 20 point buy or higher, non standard parties, and so on then it is on the GM to adjust.

Random comment.

If true, Paizo assuming a 15 point buy in monster design is dumb for a couple of reasons. The first being that the average results from 4d6 drop lowest are higher than a 15 point buy, so monsters aren't even designed to handle the traditional char. gen method. Though, to be fair, a 15 point buy allows more min maxing than dice-rolling Char. Gen does.

The other being that, if 15 point buy is supposed to be the "low power" option for character generation, monsters shouldn't be designed around it. To use a very crude visual:

High Power
"Standard" Power <----- Monsters should be designed around this paradigm.
Low Power

15 point is the assumed buy in for APs/PFS IIRC. Also, it's better to aim for low power level than a higher one. If something is too low, the GM can adapt the game by adding in more enemies/Monster HP in later encounters. If the power level is too high however, you are more likely to get a TPK or high character turn over, which might turn new players (i.e. customers) off the game


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Not all groups are equal. The game assumes average players with 15 point buy. Once you get optimizers, 20 point buy or higher, non standard parties, and so on then it is on the GM to adjust.

Random comment.

If true, Paizo assuming a 15 point buy in monster design is dumb for a couple of reasons. The first being that the average results from 4d6 drop lowest are higher than a 15 point buy, so monsters aren't even designed to handle the traditional char. gen method. Though, to be fair, a 15 point buy allows more min maxing than dice-rolling Char. Gen does.

The other being that, if 15 point buy is supposed to be the "low power" option for character generation, monsters shouldn't be designed around it. To use a very crude visual:

High Power
"Standard" Power <----- Monsters should be designed around this paradigm.
Low Power

From the PRD

Quote:


Low Fantasy 10
Standard Fantasy 15
High Fantasy 20
Epic Fantasy 25
15 is the standard. Low fantasy is 10.

This is the thing most people completely miss. Pathfinder is designed around a 15 point buy, which is lower then the 'common' stat generation methods that have been prevalent in 3.x.

Basically the game is expecting characters to have something close to the elite array, meaning their primary stat will start somewhere between 15 and 17. Even when using higher point buys you should be enforcing a limit in this order. Players shouldnt be starting the game with 20's in primary stats if you dont want to adjust as a dm. It throws off the basic math of the game. Simply caping starting ability scores at 17 has made my life as a gm much easier. It's actually meant i can offer higher point buys (25) without hurting giving a free pass to single ability score characters. So even if you like more generous stat generation methods, just enforce that upper starting limit (after racial modifiers) and you are just fine.


Kolokotroni wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Not all groups are equal. The game assumes average players with 15 point buy. Once you get optimizers, 20 point buy or higher, non standard parties, and so on then it is on the GM to adjust.

Random comment.

If true, Paizo assuming a 15 point buy in monster design is dumb for a couple of reasons. The first being that the average results from 4d6 drop lowest are higher than a 15 point buy, so monsters aren't even designed to handle the traditional char. gen method. Though, to be fair, a 15 point buy allows more min maxing than dice-rolling Char. Gen does.

The other being that, if 15 point buy is supposed to be the "low power" option for character generation, monsters shouldn't be designed around it. To use a very crude visual:

High Power
"Standard" Power <----- Monsters should be designed around this paradigm.
Low Power

From the PRD

Quote:


Low Fantasy 10
Standard Fantasy 15
High Fantasy 20
Epic Fantasy 25
15 is the standard. Low fantasy is 10.

This is the thing most people completely miss. Pathfinder is designed around a 15 point buy, which is lower then the 'common' stat generation methods that have been prevalent in 3.x.

Basically the game is expecting characters to have something close to the elite array, meaning their primary stat will start somewhere between 15 and 17. Even when using higher point buys you should be enforcing a limit in this order. Players shouldnt be starting the game with 20's in primary stats if you dont want to adjust as a dm. It throws off the basic math of the game. Simply caping starting ability scores at 17 has made my life as a gm much easier. It's actually meant i can offer higher point buys (25) without hurting giving a free pass to single ability score characters. So even if you like more generous stat generation methods, just enforce that upper starting limit (after racial modifiers) and you are just fine.

Well, 25 pts build help a lot more the MAD class than the SAD class. Even with a 15 pts build, the wizard will probably max his INT since he don't need the reste, while the Fighter or the Monk will have bad time dealing with it.

I found that 25 pts build is, in fact, far more balanced than the standard 15 pts build.

Sovereign Court

ElCrabofAnger wrote:
What type of gear? Magical. So hey, the martials can't even do their basic jobs without help from the people who paid attention in class.

By that logic - wizards suck. Because what do they need to make their class work? Paper. Therefore it's the lumberjacks and papermills who are the real powerhouses of Pathfinder. :P


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Saigo Takamori wrote:

Well, 25 pts build help a lot more the MAD class than the SAD class. Even with a 15 pts build, the wizard will probably max his INT since he don't need the reste, while the Fighter or the Monk will have bad time dealing with it.

I found that 25 pts build is, in fact, far more balanced than the standard 15 pts build.

Hence my suggestion, go higher point buy, just cap the starting scores at 17. The intent behind a 15point buy is for people to have something near the elite erray (which has a max of 15 before racial modifiers). The fact that some people will play oafish idiot weaklings in order to max out specific scores doesnt really change the assumption of the game. So simply not allowing it is generally a good idea. I happen to be a propenent of supporting mad concepts without making it easier for the sad guys.

My full rules for starting stats are 25point buy, no scores over 17 after racial modifiers, no scores under 10 before racial modifiers. It has worked quite well for me and my table.

Sovereign Court

Kolokotroni wrote:


My full rules for starting stats are 25point buy, no scores over 17 after racial modifiers, no scores under 10 before racial modifiers. It has worked quite well for me and my table.

17 seems a bit harsh. 18 seems like it would work too - and wouldn't outright screw over a few character concepts. (Ex: Drunken Masters basically require Swift Drinker, which requires a Con of 18 to take. Your ruling would be forcing them to delay said feat for two levels.)


Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:
... or make a creature magic immune...

Magic inmunity in pathfinder is basically a joke.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:


My full rules for starting stats are 25point buy, no scores over 17 after racial modifiers, no scores under 10 before racial modifiers. It has worked quite well for me and my table.
17 seems a bit harsh. 18 seems like it would work too - and wouldn't outright screw over a few character concepts. (Ex: Drunken Masters basically require Swift Drinker, which requires a Con of 18 to take. Your ruling would be forcing them to delay said feat for two levels.)

Its definately not a 1st level requirement for the concept, that is absurd. How many monks can actually afford an 18 con at 1st level? Again, if you take the standard point buy of 15 points, theres no way that monk has an 18 con and is still functional as, you know, a monk (needing wisdom, dex, and strength to go with that con score)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
ElCrabofAnger wrote:
What type of gear? Magical. So hey, the martials can't even do their basic jobs without help from the people who paid attention in class.
By that logic - wizards suck. Because what do they need to make their class work? Paper. Therefore it's the lumberjacks and papermills who are the real powerhouses of Pathfinder. :P

Yeah.....No.

And just to clarify, I'm also assuming that casters like to be clothed most of the time. that doesn't mean that the garment industry rules the universe (no matter what Zoolander says).
.

Sovereign Court

Kolokotroni wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:


My full rules for starting stats are 25point buy, no scores over 17 after racial modifiers, no scores under 10 before racial modifiers. It has worked quite well for me and my table.
17 seems a bit harsh. 18 seems like it would work too - and wouldn't outright screw over a few character concepts. (Ex: Drunken Masters basically require Swift Drinker, which requires a Con of 18 to take. Your ruling would be forcing them to delay said feat for two levels.)
Its definately not a 1st level requirement for the concept, that is absurd. How many monks can actually afford an 18 con at 1st level? Again, if you take the standard point buy of 15 points, theres no way that monk has an 18 con and is still functional as, you know, a monk (needing wisdom, dex, and strength to go with that con score)

You can get an 18 con with a 15 point buy as a dwarf monk so long as you're willing to dump cha and drop str down to 9. (get an agile AOMF ASAP)

They do better with a higher point buy - but that's true of all MAD classes.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Saigo Takamori wrote:

Well, 25 pts build help a lot more the MAD class than the SAD class. Even with a 15 pts build, the wizard will probably max his INT since he don't need the reste, while the Fighter or the Monk will have bad time dealing with it.

I found that 25 pts build is, in fact, far more balanced than the standard 15 pts build.

Hence my suggestion, go higher point buy, just cap the starting scores at 17. The intent behind a 15point buy is for people to have something near the elite erray (which has a max of 15 before racial modifiers). The fact that some people will play oafish idiot weaklings in order to max out specific scores doesnt really change the assumption of the game. So simply not allowing it is generally a good idea. I happen to be a propenent of supporting mad concepts without making it easier for the sad guys.

My full rules for starting stats are 25point buy, no scores over 17 after racial modifiers, no scores under 10 before racial modifiers. It has worked quite well for me and my table.

Right, those are great ideas.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:


My full rules for starting stats are 25point buy, no scores over 17 after racial modifiers, no scores under 10 before racial modifiers. It has worked quite well for me and my table.
17 seems a bit harsh. 18 seems like it would work too - and wouldn't outright screw over a few character concepts. (Ex: Drunken Masters basically require Swift Drinker, which requires a Con of 18 to take. Your ruling would be forcing them to delay said feat for two levels.)
Its definately not a 1st level requirement for the concept, that is absurd. How many monks can actually afford an 18 con at 1st level? Again, if you take the standard point buy of 15 points, theres no way that monk has an 18 con and is still functional as, you know, a monk (needing wisdom, dex, and strength to go with that con score)

You can get an 18 con with a 15 point buy as a dwarf monk so long as you're willing to dump cha and drop str down to 9. (get an agile AOMF ASAP)

They do better with a higher point buy - but that's true of all MAD classes.

My point is it hurts quite a bit (remember, 15 point buy is the base assumption of the game), a monk with a 9st is basically completely ineffective in combat until he gets that very specfic magic item that is worth at least 4,000gp, and isnt in the rpg line, so again, isnt a given that it will be available even if the campaign allows you to get a hold of magic items that specific. Which basically means he isnt going to sort that for at least a few levels. At which point he could also raise his con, if its important to his concept and take the feat.

Whats more hampering for a monk? Not doing any damage until he can get an agile amulet of mighty fists, or waiting probably less time time before being able to take a feat to drink alchohol as a swift action, and in the mean time he has better overall stats, for his mad character? Remember the point here is to keep things about as strong as they are at 15points without penalyzing mad characters as much as a lowish point buy does. I would argue that until the level that a monk is able to get an amulet of mighty fists he benefits far more in my system even spending a standard action on his alchohol, then he would with a poor strength, and also likely a lower wisdom, and a less crummy int and charisma.

Your example for my idea 'screwing over' a few concepts is a very specific build for a very specific concept that only works with a specific race, and only works in a campaign that specifically allows a magic item property (agile) that isnt in the core line of books, and allows characters to get a hold of specific magic items, rather then, either making them rare, or making them random/story relevant. Thats a hyper specific example.

I'd honestly take that loss over the benefits gained from reigning the numbers in while still allowing for well rounded characters anyday.


I think you are on the right track, Kolo. If I still believed in straight point buy systems, I'd probably put a ceiling/floor on the starting stats, as well. My only gripe is that setting 25 point buy within the bounds of basically 10 and 15 (though a secondary stat could be higher with no racial bonus) is going to lead to a lot of similar stat layouts.

I guess the most mechanically efficient way to build a human in this system would be something like:

15 (17), 14, 14, 14, 13, 10

...or something along those lines.

Now, I wouldn't use exactly this layout for every character, but I could see using something quite similar to this in a lot of cases in your system, even for SAD classes. I like your idea and agree with your motivations, but it leads (in my imagination, at least) to more incentive for sameness than I like.


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the secret fire wrote:

I think you are on the right track, Kolo. If I still believed in straight point buy systems, I'd probably put a ceiling/floor on the starting stats, as well. My only gripe is that setting 25 point buy within the bounds of basically 10 and 15 (though a secondary stat could be higher with no racial bonus) is going to lead to a lot of similar stat layouts.

I guess the most mechanically efficient way to build a human in this system would be something like:

15 (17), 14, 14, 14, 13, 10

...or something along those lines.

Now, I wouldn't use exactly this layout for every character, but I could see using something quite similar to this in a lot of cases in your system, even for SAD classes. I like your idea and agree with your motivations, but it leads (in my imagination, at least) to more incentive for sameness than I like.

Actually in my experience it allows for more diversity. For instance, one thing you are assuming is that the highest someone will buy is 15. In this system you are not particularly penalyzed for say playing a dwarf wizard, or even a race that has a penalty to a key stat like a dwarf sorceror. With this system you can know you are starting on the same playing field as anyone else even if you are playing something outside the norm. Because in this setup you can actually buy yourself up to the maximum allowed bonus, even if you have a penalty to that score (getting to a 16, which at least to start is the same as the maximum 17).

Also, assuming you get more people playing mad concepts, which you do in this system, you are just as likely to see something like 15(17), 16, 14, 13, 10, 10. It will depend on what serves the character. In addition, thing's i have seen are things like the charismatic wizard. Why? Because he couldnt just dump everything into int, so he decided to play a charming personable wizard. Something basically unheard of in the normal point buys.

Shadow Lodge

I may have to check that system out Kolo.


Kolokotroni wrote:
the secret fire wrote:

I think you are on the right track, Kolo. If I still believed in straight point buy systems, I'd probably put a ceiling/floor on the starting stats, as well. My only gripe is that setting 25 point buy within the bounds of basically 10 and 15 (though a secondary stat could be higher with no racial bonus) is going to lead to a lot of similar stat layouts.

I guess the most mechanically efficient way to build a human in this system would be something like:

15 (17), 14, 14, 14, 13, 10

...or something along those lines.

Now, I wouldn't use exactly this layout for every character, but I could see using something quite similar to this in a lot of cases in your system, even for SAD classes. I like your idea and agree with your motivations, but it leads (in my imagination, at least) to more incentive for sameness than I like.

Actually in my experience it allows for more diversity. For instance, one thing you are assuming is that the highest someone will buy is 15. In this system you are not particularly penalyzed for say playing a dwarf wizard, or even a race that has a penalty to a key stat like a dwarf sorceror. With this system you can know you are starting on the same playing field as anyone else even if you are playing something outside the norm. Because in this setup you can actually buy yourself up to the maximum allowed bonus, even if you have a penalty to that score (getting to a 16, which at least to start is the same as the maximum 17).

Also, assuming you get more people playing mad concepts, which you do in this system, you are just as likely to see something like 15(17), 16, 14, 13, 10, 10. It will depend on what serves the character. In addition, thing's i have seen are things like the charismatic wizard. Why? Because he couldnt just dump everything into int, so he decided to play a charming personable wizard. Something basically unheard of in the normal point buys.

The MAD part is clear enough, but you make a good point about it encouraging non-standard race/class combos, which is a very good thing, imho.


Kolokotroni wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Not all groups are equal. The game assumes average players with 15 point buy. Once you get optimizers, 20 point buy or higher, non standard parties, and so on then it is on the GM to adjust.

Random comment.

If true, Paizo assuming a 15 point buy in monster design is dumb for a couple of reasons. The first being that the average results from 4d6 drop lowest are higher than a 15 point buy, so monsters aren't even designed to handle the traditional char. gen method. Though, to be fair, a 15 point buy allows more min maxing than dice-rolling Char. Gen does.

The other being that, if 15 point buy is supposed to be the "low power" option for character generation, monsters shouldn't be designed around it. To use a very crude visual:

High Power
"Standard" Power <----- Monsters should be designed around this paradigm.
Low Power

From the PRD

Quote:


Low Fantasy 10
Standard Fantasy 15
High Fantasy 20
Epic Fantasy 25
15 is the standard. Low fantasy is 10.

This is the thing most people completely miss. Pathfinder is designed around a 15 point buy, which is lower then the 'common' stat generation methods that have been prevalent in 3.x.

Basically the game is expecting characters to have something close to the elite array, meaning their primary stat will start somewhere between 15 and 17. Even when using higher point buys you should be enforcing a limit in this order. Players shouldnt be starting the game with 20's in primary stats if you dont want to adjust as a dm. It throws off the basic math of the game. Simply caping starting ability scores at 17 has made my life as a gm much easier. It's actually meant i can offer higher point buys (25) without hurting giving a free pass to single ability score characters. So even if you like more generous stat generation methods, just enforce that upper starting limit (after racial modifiers) and you are just fine.

As Kolo has mentioned you need over a 20 point buy to match 3.5's standard.

3.5
str 14 dex 14 con 14 int 14 wis 9 cha 8 -->25(standard) point buy

PF
str 14 dex 14 con 14 int 14 wis 9 cha 8--> 21 point buy

Let's see what happens if I actually put a 16 into my primary score.

3.5
str 16 dex 14 con 14 int 10 wis 11 cha 8 -->25(standard) point buy

PF
str 16 dex 14 con 14 int 10 wis 11 cha 8--> 21 point buy
--------------------------------------------------------------
Tangent:
I don't agree with enforcing a 17 limit, I definitely disagree with letting one player have the same stat as one without a racial adjustment. I would just say no dump stats instead of introducing an artificial cap, but this is just a difference in GM'ing


Personally I never buy above a 16. That extra +1 to an 18 is not worth it. Some buy a 17, and push it to 18 at level 4, but that is also expensive, but then again I don't like dump stats too much.

Another idea to use if you have a player that likes to dump stats is to just hand out an array or a selection of arrays and let them choose one.

Dark Archive

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I believe balance is very important! It's what makes it a game rather than playing "make believe". I'm not saying that everything needs to be quantifiable perfect, but if one character is completely outclassing the rest of the party the other guys aren't going to be having much fun. Everyone at the table should be having fun, if they are not then what is the point? Balance is the very first step toward making sure everyone is having fun not just one or two players.


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Tabletop RPGs are weird. They're the only genre of gaming on the planet, that I know of, where some people actively oppose balance.


Johnico wrote:
Tabletop RPGs are weird. They're the only genre of gaming on the planet, that I know of, where some people actively oppose balance.

This distinction is yet another manifestation of what makes them so freaking great.

Most games are just that--games. RPGs have the additional quality of providing an avenue for creative expression in one or more particular settings. Sometimes those settings include characters who, when translated to game characters, do not have similar levels of power along some power metric (combat prowess, the ever-nebulous "narrative power", and so on). In such situations, balancing these roles out for the sake of G can adversely affect the integrity of the RP. There are numerous solutions to this. One is to change the setting and expectations so that it is more amenable to balance. Another is to accept that imbalance exists and appreciate it for what it is. Everybody has their own approach to it, and, provided you can find a like-minded (or close enough) table, they're all correct! That's something you just don't get in most games.


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I'd rather we have a distinction if we're going to cross the streams like that.

Hero classes and mook/bodyguard/minion classes.

Instead we have the two types of classes mixed all into the same section of the book like they're all equal choices.


It isn't a division, it's a spectrum, one with multiple interdependent dimensions. The RPGs I've found to have the most staying power with me provide enough choices to allow people to seek out what they want to play based on their individual requirements--not merely of what they want their character to do, but of what they want out of the game (which may or may not include the former)--and still have fun at a table with other players with different needs.


blahpers wrote:


Most games are just that--games. RPGs have the additional quality of providing an avenue for creative expression in one or more particular settings. Sometimes those settings include characters who, when translated to game characters, do not have similar levels of power along some power metric (combat prowess, the ever-nebulous "narrative power", and so on). In such situations, balancing these roles out for the sake of G can adversely affect the integrity of the RP.

Which sounds very nice and pleasant on paper, but isn't really true.

Unless your RP relies on you being the biggest baddest m#@*@@@**%@! on the planet, and the rest of the party your lackeys, balance is not going to affect your RP.

I'm perfectly comfortable with trimming that extremely narrow RP scale for the sake of making the game better.


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I'm ok with there being tiers, but if they're clearly labeled. Possibly spread across different books.

These are high power classes
These are medium power
Low power

Pick the tier that's right for your group and go adventuring! Be wary though that playing with classes of multiple tiers will cause an unbalanced party. That is the reality of Pathfinder right now and it is saddening. In the same book we have Brawlers, which are admittedly one of the best and most fun martials in the game, and the Arcanist. The power disparity in even the newest releases is downright sad considering how long the system has been around.

The amount of system mastery and gameplay experience needed for a new player to realize that is way too high.

Extra: I do think Paizo made a step in the right direction with the Shaman. It's nowhere near Wizard or Cleric levels of shenanigans and probably less crazy than the Druid. It's right around where 9th level casters should be balanced. The fact that Paizo can make full casters that don't destroy the game is pretty cool to see! If only they could do that more. If I could make a wish for Pathfinder Unchained it would be for new spell lists for the Wizard/Cleric and the rewriting of spells like Planar Binding.


Rynjin wrote:
blahpers wrote:


Most games are just that--games. RPGs have the additional quality of providing an avenue for creative expression in one or more particular settings. Sometimes those settings include characters who, when translated to game characters, do not have similar levels of power along some power metric (combat prowess, the ever-nebulous "narrative power", and so on). In such situations, balancing these roles out for the sake of G can adversely affect the integrity of the RP.
[quoteWhich sounds very nice and pleasant on paper, but isn't really true.

It's as true as you and your table make it. If you aren't getting what you need from your table, find another or make your own.

Quote:
Unless your RP relies on you being the biggest baddest m%@*+%*+@*#+ on the planet, and the rest of the party your lackeys, balance is not going to affect your RP.

It very much can if the setting is inherently unbalanced. It may model a real-world setting or mythology in which characters are not balanced, or it may be an original creation whose lore depends on such a distribution of power.

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